You are using an outdated browser.
Please upgrade your browser
and improve your visit to our site.
Skip Navigation

Close Reading

onceThe Plankthe last timeThe Spinehere
The ultimate source of the convulsive reaction to the Pope's speech is the Islamic belief that spiritually and physically debauched infidels have no right to express opinions--least of all negative opinions--regarding Islam's sacred text, the Koran, the Muslim prophet, Muhammad (Ecce Homo Arabicus), or the sacred Islamic Law (Shari'a), which includes the permanent institution of jihad war. ...

The global Muslim reactions to both the Danish cartoons, and the Pope's Regensburg lecture manifest these same motifs of dehumanizing infidel hatred, replete with the collective punishment of non-Muslim societies and religious institutions for their modern "blasphemies". When a single Danish newspaper published nondescript cartoons of Muhammad, Danish embassies were destroyed, and Danish goods boycotted in Muslim countries. Similarly, the Pope's mere quotation of a late 14th century Muslim-Christian polemic has incited violent attacks (including at least two murders) directed at Christians, and their institutions in Islamic societies.